Get carbon neutral renewable natural gasI got this email from PSE. Did anyone else get it? I can forward it to you if you did not. If you've seen it, I'd like to know what anybody thinks. Thanks, Nancy
Then I feel like I'm doing the right thing. It's definitely "No for now."
"No" is what I personally came up with (back when I had gas appliances); but it's not an easy call.
Thank you for all this John & Rob. It's pretty complicated, but I think that's a "No."
I reached out to Rob Briggs (Ginny Lohr's husband) - he follows PSE closely. Here is the text of what he said:
Capturing methane from landfills or feedlots is important to have happen. So, replacing fossil methane with methane from biological sources that was either created from carbon in the biosphere or that would otherwise go directly back into the atmosphere without providing an energy benefit is all to the good. Given methane’s higher global warming potential value, one might even say it’s urgent.
The question becomes a bit more complex once you recognizes that there is not enough renewable natural gas potential around to decarbonize the sectors of the economic that would like to claim it as their solution. Electric and gas utilities, industry, and the transportation sector would like to claim some of it either for direct substitution for fossil gas or for use in synthesizing low-carbon fuels and feedstocks. Given that buildings can be decarbonized easily with renewable electricity, which can easily scale to meet the need, decarbonizing other sectors, like aviation and chemicals, seem like a much higher priority.
So if the question comes from a homeowner who is considering replacing the gas furnace with a heat pump and the gas range with an induction unit OR switching to renewable natural gas, the far better climate solution is the former. If someone were considering doing it as an interim measure, I would view signing up as mildly useful, because it creates demand, higher prices, and market signals for investing in the infrastructure and equipment that can lower methane emissions and reduce demand for fracked gas. So far, renewable natural gas has mostly just been used as a public relations tool for the gas industry to use to suggest that there is a pathway to decarbonizing that is simply not there, because RNG from the proposed pathways cannot scale.
I think the description of how this option is being priced is not clear or straight-forward, perhaps purposely so. Anyone signing up has the right to know what impact they will have for what they will be paying. RNG is far more expensive than fossil gas, which is probably why PSE doesn’t want to convey that clearly. The green electricity that PSE sells, comes with a premium of about $0.01/kWh or about 10%. I have not looked into the details of this to know what the premium is, although it’s a simple calculation. My guess is that it is far higher than for renewable electricity.
Thank you John. Nothing you're saying surprises me, which is why I didn't jump right on it. I depend on my CCL friends to help sort these things out for me.
Yes I've seen this. Daughter Sydney got the same note. I'm digging into it, will have something out. In the meantime I would suggest viewing with caution. PSE's business model is based on burning fossil fuels. They are scared to death about coming restrictions. Everything they say needs to be vetted carefully. Standby. Thanks for the post.